Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stargate SG-1

Stargate SG-1
Episode 7: The Nox
By: Carlos Uribe

Stargate SG-1 is a series about a two-way gate that can send you to different planets and the dangers of the gate. This series follows the adventures of a group of individuals as they explore the galaxy using the Stargate. The series lasted from 1997 until 2010. It began on Showtime before transferring to what is now known as the Syfy channel. It is the second longest North American science fiction series. It's the sequel to the movie “Stargate” released in 1994.

Spoilers Ahoy!

This episode is essential to the series/season arc.

In science fiction there is always the idea that there's a peace-loving race that experience simple lives but who have technology and wisdom greater than that of ours. It makes sense that this race would be peace-loving. The idea that humanity will eventually be able to advance so that we're no longer violent is a pleasant one. It's one of hope. What I will never understand is why these races will chose to live simple lives. The whole American dream has been to always improve your lot of life, and yet this race would suggest that living with less is better. It's an idea that likes to find it's way into any series that is set around exploring space if it lasts long enough. This is all to state that this is an episode that explored that idea. It's nothing new to science fiction and this episode doesn't really have anything new to contribute to the idea. This doesn't mean that it's a badly written episode but it is one that doesn't feel very original to me. Star Trek had used this idea to introduce the klingons-that's how old it is. It is therefore more forgettable than it would have been otherwise. Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed it as I watched it. It's just that it doesn't really stick with you.

The aliens in this episode are the Nox. They possess the ability to become invisible and this is what attracts the attention from both the Goa'uld and Stargate command. While neither actually know that these aliens exist, they're both searching for some birds that the Nox make invisible. When our heroes come to the planet Gaia, where the Nox live, they discover that series villain Apophis is also there. This is the first time that Apophis has appeared since the premiere and it helps to do two things to the episode. The first is that it provides an adversary for our protagonists. The second is that it helps to establish the power that the Nox has. They're not worried about Apophis or the other Goa'uld. When our heroes ambush Apophis and get killed, the Nox are able to revive and cure them. Even after two of the Nox are killed by the Goa'uld, they are able to recover those two losses. They are able to hide not just birds and themselves, but they reveal that their cloaking ability is also hiding entire cities from the Goa'uld. In other words, the Nox posses a lot of technologies that are far beyond anything that humans have. They're far from helpless even if they appear so by us. It's not just that they live in a village and are pacifists but that they even look helpless in their appearances.

It is a bit of a disappointment that this is the first episode that Apophis appears in but that he's not the focus. He might be the antagonist of the episode, but it's always about the Nox. Apophis is the villain for the first five seasons and while he helps to make this episode's aliens more important, he ultimately doesn't do anything that advances the series plot. He's merely hunting birds and then he's looking for Teal'c and the Nox. While he remains a worthy foe for our heroes, his presence could have easily been replaced by another Goa'uld or it could have just been the Jaffa guards. It merely seems like he was added to remind the viewers that he's the target of our characters and that he's still out there. A nice reminder but it doesn't really add to that actual episode.

This was an episode that was pretty good. It's interesting to note who wrote it. Hart Hanson penned the episode. I find this interesting because of who Hart Hanson is. He's the creator of the light-hearted cop drama Bones. While I enjoy that show whenever I see, it doesn't really stick with me afterwards. It simply seems like I'm fated to like his writing but not really remember it. This episode introduces the Nox, who are of some importance to the show. It's also the first appearance of Apophis since the premiere.

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